Design, Photography, & Fashion

Generating Ideas

Frank Gehry

Lesson time 14:37 min

Sometimes the best ideas begin as the craziest ideas. Frank shares a few of his tips for exploring the crazy ideas, and where to begin again if you're feeling stuck.

Frank Gehry
Teaches Design and Architecture
In 17 lessons, Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art.
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From jazz, the greatest thing I've heard anybody say is Wayne Shorter who said, you can't rehearse what you ain't invented yet. And it's so true because the creative process is when you're doing a building, you're trying to pull it out of somewhere. And it's like jazz, you respond, and you work intuitively to create something. And it evolves. And often it just starts to appear, like you don't know where it's coming from. And you go with it, you trust it, you leave-- you don't leave it. You don't over think it. You just go with it, and it takes you somewhere. It's a great experience when you're finished you look at it, you say, where the hell did that come from? How did I get that? God damn it, that's so great, you know? Don't tell anybody I didn't know what I was doing. We had a physics teacher, Joe Noble was his name, in the 11th grade. We would stay after school he, would stay after school, and we would sit and talk about all these kind of things. And he egged us on. We used to fantasize some crazy things, like if you have-- this is crazy, OK? So if you have two trains coming on the track, they're equal size, and they hit each other. What happens? They stop dead, right? So now you have the same one train, and then you have half a train and you hit it, so then this gets pushed that way a little bit. And so as this train gets smaller, and smaller, this train pushes it further, and further. But, they always stop it. So then we wondered if a fly could stop the train taking that logic. Well, we spent months thinking about that. People still remind me and make fun of me from that period. Obviously, a fly can't stop a train. But, we really believed it could back then. I think that's important, just to take the risk of doing something even though you know, oh come on, you're never going to stop-- a fly isn't going to stop a train. But, let's see how big a thing has to be to stop the train. Where is the line? And then, what can you do with that information? So there are similarities when you project images. Like now we're doing a house with a brick facade. The brick doesn't hit the ground, it's in suspension. That's stupid to do that because a brick is heavy, you shouldn't do that. So we were going to kill it, we weren't going to do it. And then, I couldn't get it out of my mind, I couldn't stop. So now the house is being designed, and the client loves it so far. And, it's working, we're making it work. Create the logic for it as you go, and it's like doing something with brick that hasn't been done, I don't think. Why do it, though? Why would you do that. Why pursue it? Why? Because it goes back to this background for humanity. It's background for living. It's-- It's a different kind of expression and it gives a different stage set, if you will. And, brick ...

Create the extraordinary

At 19 years old, Frank Gehry was a truck driver taking sculpture classes at night school. His vision for what architecture could accomplish went on to reshape our cities’ skylines and the imaginations of artists and designers around the world. In his online architecture class, this master builder invites you into his never-before-seen model archive for a look into his creative process.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Well, it amazing to hear from a real architect master, his thinkins, knowledge, feelings, skills, and personal behabour. It was a very nice opportunity to learn from him, and see him as a normal human.

Frank, your masterclass was exceptional: heartfelt, insightful, integral and vital for the growth and determination of both humanity and design. I am forever grateful. Now, I look forward to beginning again: I will review and undertake these classes again. There is so much to glean from every moment shared. Thank you, and bravo Masterclass.

I found the course very good to know about the way a great architect like Frank thinks, to whom I have a strong respect for all his great career, I loved the course and helped me to improve my decisions so I could understand a little more about the architecture. excellent work master class.

I'm not an architect, nor am I studying architecture, however, Mr. Geary's insights spill over into so many different aspects of the creative process and human interaction that I find myself that they can't help but rub-off and help me become a better luthier


A fellow student

Loving this class and his ideas shared so freely. This is more about creativity than architecture-- creativity as discussed through the lens of architecture. Just wonderful.

George B.

Gehry goes through everything a painter goes through, architecture is just as pure an art form as painting, it requires a creative mind, experienced in design.

A fellow student

I loved it, his ideas and approach are so relevant and transferable to so many different areas and walks of life. I'd love to just sit and chat with him and have him build me a house!

Graeme R.

So honest! I love Frank Gehry. Anyone can learn from his wisdom, not just architects.


I saw this building at Canada and I was amazed of how only a few concrete beams were able to hold up this building.

Margaret B.

Frank encompasses the creative process so well with that healthy sense of procrastination and self doubt. His message to push on rather than find space is illuminating.

Margaret C.

What a brilliant, wonderful, humane thinker. I'm so enjoying these engagements.

Masooma A.

The point that Mr. Gehry raised about repeating ourselves and how it's looked down upon, I found it very interesting. I agree that it's definitely something that needs to be thought about in more depth. Also, what he said about the creative block resonated with me especially it's relation with fear of that moment of truth when an artist might have to face the reality of what he created.

Kathryn M.

I love how genuine you are, Mr. Gehry. I am thankful to tears for the important life lessons you are teaching me. Thank you!

Boroka K.

I think repeating yourself can be more of a "experimenting further". You know when there is more where this came from ? Maybe you repeat yourself in parts of what you do, but two things will not be the same when it is tailored to a different need. The new expression gains new meaning, while in its parts is a repetition. If you look at Mother Nature, you see that while we are all unique, 99% of our dna is same same. Even Nature repeats itself :) I just had of those Heureka moments that has to be tested :)))